Integrity defined is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness, it is the state of being whole and undivided.
Integrity really is the defining characteristic to who you are in this world. Once people know you are a person of integrity, you can and will be trusted, without it, you will suffer opportunities. Now, we all hear various things about integrity, especially from the leadership gurus who use it as a building block to their principles on leadership, however, it is even more important that we have integrity with God.
Personally, I think most of us lie to ourselves about ourselves, and we have a low self-awareness of who we really are to the people around us. For example: I think in my own estimation I have integrity, I am not a liar, and I don’t cheat. (Well that last one is in question with my family, because I never win at board games unless I cheat, but who is harmed, right?) My point, however, is that how I see myself versus how others see me can be (and usually is) different. That difference lived out in a lifetime is where people get self-deceived. The Psalmist said:
Psalm 139 23Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.
David was not a man of integrity, as we see in his escapades with Bathsheba and her husband. Yet his desire was to know God and for God to know His heart, and I believe David wanted to change and that is why he wrote the words above.
It is this kind of honesty before God that can be defined as integrity, at least in the asking. Listening to God for His response is the real way we would define integrity before God. Listening is more important than talking, we all have heard that a thousand times, but it is true. I need to hear God speak to me about me. What does He see in me that He is pleased with, and what is it about me that He hates?
I will give you some help on ten things that He may not like in me:
1. My opinions
2. My hardline judgments
3. My impatience
4. My lack of trust
5. My dislike of arrogance
6. My unforgiveness
7. My keeping score
8. My worry
9. My guilt
10. My inadequacies
Gosh, as I was typing that, it seemed to come too easy (and my list was not limited to ten things!)
Anyway, all those things are closet stuffers that get shoveled to the back of the closet with the hope that one day you will clean it all up. The truth of the matter is, that day usually never comes because daily life takes over and there are more important things to tackle. Yet, are there more important matters to tackle than listening to God about your integrity with Him? I will leave you to answer that one for yourself.
In my life, there have been people who have irritated me to no end. People who insist on being right all the time. The arrogance of the know-it-all is so upsetting to me because I know most of our knowledge is less than 2% of what there is to know, so who is kidding whom? Yet, in me, there is that desire to know more and I could become that person that I dislike. Why would I follow that path? It’s because of my insecurity of not knowing enough, that I need to know more than others. We are strange creatures! If I let integrity rule my life, I would simply say, “I don’t know, let’s discover that knowledge together.” Even writing that sounds too simple and unrealistic. Yet, integrity is the ability to know limits, to set limits, and be satisfied with being honest about those limits.
God’s Word always talks about the integrity of our hearts. What is in our hearts is what will come out from our hearts, and if we are the sole proprietor of our hearts, guess who is going to come out 100% of the time? You guessed it … your opinions, your preferences, your judgments, your impatience, your worries. Oh, look it’s all the things I listed above about myself … funny how that works, right?
Integrity on a simple level is also about doing what we say we will do. Always be honest in your conversations, don’t say things you don’t mean, and be quick to follow up on things you said you would do. This is where I think we start. Conquer your personality glitches by being a person of integrity by what you say you will do. Then, I think you are ready to go on to the heart closet where you have stuffed all the stuff that needs a spring cleaning. Be careful you don’t remove too much at one time and not give each item its dose of integrity because it doesn’t work well to baptize it all at one time. Each item has a world of its own and needs a proper burial with the intent of never digging it back up.
Let us make this our daily prayer … Search me O God. Show me what you are pleased with and help me to know what you are not. Give me the strength and the courage to admit to my closet stuffing habits and help me to face each one with integrity.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler